Grover Norquist* and the end of Representative Democracy – Bed Tax edition

January 14, 2013 14:55 pm

by Stefan · 9 comments

So voters, you really are a fickle lot. The only thing we really know about you is that you hate taxes, and tax hikes. That’s why to get elected in many districts, candidates have to sign pledges that they will not raise taxes, even if it is otherwise clearly the correct thing to do.

But taxes, like love, will find a way.

Like the platinum coin workaround, what representatives cannot do directly, they will find a way to do indirectly. Enter Nathan Deal with what only appears rational if everyone is being irrational, a delegation of the legislature’s authority to extend the “bed tax” to the Department of Community Health

Deal’s floor leaders in the House and Senate introduced legislation Monday that switches the responsibility for levying the fee from the legislature to the Department of Community Health. The move to levy a provider fee would replace the so-called bed tax on hospitals.

A senior official in Deal’s administration told the AJC on Sunday the move could head off a messy fight over whether to renew the bed tax. The levy is seen as a necessity to avoid massive reductions in Medicaid reimbursements to doctors and to fill a more than $500 million void in the state Medicaid budget.

So the DCH will have to implement the tax, and then we can all say it’s those damn bureaucrats. Everybody wins.

 

(Letter from Grover Norquist to the Georgia Delegation)

 

Jackster January 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Maybe I’m being too narrow minded regarding policy, so if I am, please flog me on FB.

Any how – Grover’s letter cites $416 million (not $500 million like stefan’s post) in question. to that, the argument is, “Don’t ask the federal gov’t for $$, since it would be deficit spending”.

Okay, so let’s say we don’t… to me, here are our options:

1) Don’t pay for medicaid patients. Basically, if you’re on mediciaid, you are screwed because hosptials won’t see you.
2) pass legislation stating that hospitals and providers MUST ACCEPT MEDICAID… but won’t be paid well. This keeps the benefits in place, but hits hospitals and physicians hard.
3) Take the $$ from the fed. gov’t. It’s deficit spending, but they’re the ones who made the law
4) Raise taxes to pay for $416 million worth of medicaid benefits.

So, I wonder… which of these is acceptable to a fiscal conservative, as grover’s letter seems to imply one of these is the choice which must be made… and only really 3 and #4 are unacceptable.

bgsmallz January 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Just as an FYI…there already is a law that says hospitals must accept you regardless of your ability to pay through the ER. Let me repeat that…the law says hospitals must accept patients through the ER regardless of ability to pay. Who pays for that? Hmmm…and where do you think medicaid patients will go once they lose all ability to effectively seek cost-effective, preventative medical care?

We are going to pay for these patients whether it’s through an efficient and well thought out manner that should come from our law makers or whether it’s through a completely inefficient and bloated backwards manner through the passing on of costs to other consumers. But who cares if we have to pay 10 to 15 to 20% more in medical fees or insurance premiums to indirectly cover costs as long as Grover’s beard is happy.

Jackster January 15, 2013 at 7:34 am

Aside from pointing out the healthcare access crutch that is the ED, which of those choices do you feel would be the best approach for a fiscal conservative? I only ask because that seems to the the smell test with or without Grover’s input.

bgsmallz January 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm

BTW- can someone tell me how this makes any sense….from Grover’s Letter…

“As the national economic recovery continues to sputter, most recently showcased by last week’s dismal jobs report, some in Georgia are calling for a tax increase on the state’s fastest growing industry. Extension of the hospital bed tax, passed in 2010 and set to expire in January, would kill jobs, dampen medical innovation and raise health care costs. It should be rejected.”

Wait a second.

Health care is the state’s fastest growing industry….but the effect of keeping the status quo on the hospital bed tax would be to kill jobs, dampen medical innovation, and raise health care costs?

Whaaaaaaaaaaaa?

Does he just copy and paste from the same template regardless of whether it makes any sense? Seriously?

John Konop January 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Very good point!

Charlie January 14, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Grover is much more interested in what Grover has to say than Grover is making sure Grover is consistent or in any way intellectually engaged.

Romegaguy January 15, 2013 at 9:26 pm

According to Michelle Bachman, Grover and his Muslim wife are also interested in raising money for terrorists.

IndyInjun January 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Grover is a worthless establishment GOP clown. After he proclaimed TSPLOST a tax increase and blasted its supporters, his AFTR spent $500,000 on TSPLOSTer Lee Anderson’s campaign.

These buffoons really don’t get why their pathetic, rotten party has gone down in flames, do they?

Dave Bearse January 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Call it a fee and get it over with already.

If only the state’s leadership was as concerned about public perceptions of conflict of interest and unethical conduct as they were about the perception of revenue as taxes……

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